A Midsummer Night's Dream

1 h 45 min201813+
Shakespeare's classic comedy reimagined as a modern Hollywood fairytale.
Casey Wilder Mott
Rachael Leigh CookPaz de la HuertaAvan Jogia
English [CC]
Audio languages
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Supporting actors
Fran KranzTed LevineHamish LinklaterLily RabeMia Doi ToddCharity WakefieldSaul WilliamsFinn Wittrock
Fran KranzDouglas MatejkaCasey Wilder MottJoshua Skurla
Brainstorm Media
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3.6 out of 5 stars

27 global ratings

  1. 43% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 23% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 8% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 6% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 21% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

KrystaReviewed in the United States on December 7, 2018
2.0 out of 5 stars
New and modern but completely drops the ball. Not recommended!
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I'm an English teacher and I've taught this play countless times. Kids absolutely LOVE it and when done right, it's absolutely hilarious. Normally I used the 1999 movie to supplement their reading which has some actors they are familiar with such as Stanley Tucci who is amazing as Puck. Once I saw the trailer for this newer version, I was so excited and immediately bought it to preview for my class.

Needless to say, I will not be showing this film to them nor do I want to watch it again. There are numerous scenes of outright sex which for adults viewing it on their own is fine but for academic purposes wouldn't be appropriate. Numerous women are running around in skimpy triangle bikinis which just leads to all sorts of awkwardness with teenage classes. I think the director was going for a more indie, sexy and seductive version of the play. I feel like they went overboard with it. The atmosphere and mood of the film is very out there and almost seems surreal which could have worked with the "dreamlike" connotation of the plot. But here, it honestly seems like with the combination of the mood and soundtrack as well as the constant cutting away of scenes (there are few continuous shots, everything is cut numerous times back and forth and almost seems like scratches on a disc), it's like the viewer is stoned. It's very odd and unsettling but not in the way Shakespeare intended for it to be, in my opinion. The modernity of the adaptation is further shown in the inclusion of phones being used for lines. For example, instead of having a heartfelt, loving conversation about running away together, Lysander and Hermia text it to one another with the text bubbles appearing on screen, complete with emojis. Also, during one of Helena's pity parties, Siri responds to her with one of her own lines from the play. Even the fairies use cellphones and remote cameras to watch the mortals. Wasn't impressed with these choices.

As far as the actors go, I was thrilled to see that there were several I recognized including Finn Wittrock as Demetrius and Lily Rabe as Helena, both from American Horror Story. I think Wittrock did a decent job of Demetrius and Rabe attempted to work with her material as best she could but they severely limited Helena's craziness and thus her appeal. Hermia is relatively one dimensional and portrayed as a petty, materialistic starlet. Lysander is the "bad boy" supposedly and really has the personality of a rock. However, the two characters I was most disappointed in were Bottom and Puck. These two are the primary sources of comedic support in the play. They're made a mockery of in this version and rendered completely redundant. Puck is a stoned, hippie surfer-shaman who is about as dynamic as a piece of paper and lacks all playful mischievousness that the real Puck has. Bottom is the same way. In particular, I wasn't happy at all with the choice they made to transform Bottom with an actual set of buttocks for a face. It completely ruins Shakespeare's joke! By taking something figurative and intelligent and making it too literal, it completely destroys the comedy in it.

I've always felt MSND was playful and exciting and silly. That's exactly why I've always loved it and my students adore it. But this version just put a bad taste in my mouth. Without connections made between the main four groups of characters and a complete lack of meaningful scenes/lines, it feels empty and done so quickly but you're left without even really knowing what happened. While I'm not totally opposed to modern adaptations (Leo DiCaprio's Romeo was amazing), this one just did not work for me. I think I'll stick with my 1999 version, thanks.
39 people found this helpful
B. ChandlerReviewed in the United States on March 24, 2020
1.0 out of 5 stars
Life could be a dream (sh-boom) - The Chords
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Another smearing of a good play.

Yep, once again someone attempts to apply iambic pentameter to modern-day dress and vehicles.

As usual, it is a hodgepodge presenting to be someone’s (Casey Wilder Mott) artsy-fartsy one up on Shakespeare. A few scenes were shifted. Toss in a little Mozart. Apply sentences from other plays, social media and even stoop to Star Wars.

There is a plus when Oberon and Titania are placed in music. But even this is clicked away.

Filming Locations: Topanga State Park, California, USA. The locals will recognize it immediately.

One plus is the characters are displayed upfront instead of ending credits.

Well, Shakespeare gets the last laugh.

You will leave saying what the Puck?
4 people found this helpful
evol_vReviewed in the United States on July 24, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
Shakespeare for the 'Gram!
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This is a breezy, fast-edit fun version of Midsummer, but with teeth. The airy, fairy forest is sharply contrasted with an authoritarian city-state. Our young starcrossed lovers seem oblivious to their privilege. The older lovers seem defensive and weary. All's well at the end, but you know the real world is still out there, waiting to grind you down. Thank the gods for Shakespeare, who knew a thing or two about the power of love and optimism to fight an oppressive regime. Watch this, if you like your Shakespeare postmodern.
K.L.Reviewed in the United States on May 9, 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
Deliberate Play!
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In a delightful, unique way I have never seen before, a film introduces producer Duke Theseus, his dreamy bride to be, Hippolyta, angry father Egeus, daughter starlet Hermia, suitors Demetrius and Lysander, jilted lover/writer/poet Helena, and student filmmakers of Athens Film Institute (AFI). Set the stage in Athens (i.e. Hollywood) and off we go to Echo Park Café, Venice Beach, the Woods, and Topanga Canyon Road by car and motorcycle.
The faerie king and queen wage war with each other for honor, disrupting nature itself. King Oberon sends his henchman-sprite Puck to fetch for him a magical flower, “Love-in-Idleness,” he will use to bewitch his Queen Titania for defying him. An acting company from AFI, and the four rival lovers flee to the Woods; there they are caught up in the faerie spells and the effects of the flower.
Purists, be warned! This film is Shakespeare served fresh! With pared down speeches, divvied up among characters, the lines do not slavishly follow the order of the original play. Yet it works, going right to the heart of the conflict. Adding to the fun, are cleverly inserted lines (Easter eggs) from other Shakespeare plays, lines by text message, Siri, posters, plaques, café poetry readings, and a studio room number mix-up at the Athens Film Institute.
There is no threat to Hermia of a death sentence or life of confinement. No adopted little Indian boy is there over which the faerie King and Queen fight. Yet fight they do! Enhanced by dramatic scenes of nature, Queen Titania’s speech about their debate bringing about climate change makes hers the most majestic speech of this film.
All the actors ferociously fight for what they want with an immediacy that make this my favorite production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Oberon smolders! He uses his smoke to fog the night. Puck uses cameras to spy on (and laugh at) the lovers. The faerie bower enchanted love scene with Titania and Bottom is dreamy but he has no donkey ears here: his ass-head is literal.
The boy - god Cupid played by an actor instead of a cartoon would have been more satisfying to me. 'Love-In-Idleness,' the magic flower is crimson in this film. (I prefer purple.) There is one unnecessary (barely audible) expletive spoken by Bottom near the end of the film. Yet these are, but quibbles compared to the amount of pleasure this film brings.
A welcome addition is a soft visual scene showing Demetrius becoming 'infected' with love for Hermia after touching Cupid's arrowhead. This added touch improves Demetrius, providing an explanation for his fickleness, allowing him to grow in awareness and love for Helena with or without magic. This film cast is perfect. Sets are gorgeous. Rondel and faerie songs are thrilling.
The mechanicals' brief film play, replete with scrolling errors, mispronunciations, jump cuts, along with the reactions of the newlyweds, is painfully droll. In the end, Puck once again reminds us that he is the one making this film from his editing suite. I wish that more faerie songs or more music from the Echo Park Café could have played through the credit roll. Oh! The cleverness of it all!
Amazon CustomerReviewed in the United States on March 24, 2019
2.0 out of 5 stars
Interesting Concept, poor execution.
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I wish I could give 2 and a half stars. I didn't dislike this production. The concept behind it was interesting and there were several legitimately good performances. Where it lost me was trying too hard to be clever. Shakespeare's script is already very clever. If they had just stayed away from the overly artsy montages and if they had not tried to crowbar in a story about Oberon and Titania being a band, I think that this adaptation would have been much more successful. Again, I'm not faulting the performances. I thought Fran Kranz made an excellent Bottom and Ted Levine as Theseus was an unexpected but good choice.
7 people found this helpful
Amazon CustomerReviewed in the United States on July 2, 2019
4.0 out of 5 stars
Fresh Take on a Classic
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If you're looking for a traditional performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream, this isn't the movie for you. However, as there are plenty of traditional performances of Shakespeare's classic comedy, this version manages to offer something novel in its take on the story.

The concept of the play as a movie within a movie is innovative and largely executed well. While the Shakespearean language remains the same, the translation to a modern setting resonates with the central themes of the play while enhancing some of the comedy of the piece (such as when Siri refuses to give directions out of the Athenian woods). The acting is engaging and amusing when it's meant to be. The pacing and setting manages to capture the dream-like atmosphere of LA in a way that made me feel nostalgic for the city. It's a solid film and good fun for someone who's familiar with Shakespeare and wants to see a genuinely different take on a familiar play
One person found this helpful
M. ClevelandReviewed in the United States on September 26, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Ignore the Puritans and Enjoy This Movie
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Pitch perfect, excellently and wittily executed, and for God’s sake, perfectly appropriate and delightful sensuality. The only thing that might offend is, well, Bottom’s actual ass. One of the best Shakespeare adaptations to film. Fantastic acting. A real joy to watch.
SaturnberryReviewed in the United States on July 30, 2020
1.0 out of 5 stars
Not My Thing...
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Lots of sexual scenes, some lines from Hamlet thrown in for filler... dialogue? Seemed more like a hippy, drug-fest from the 60s than Shakespeare. Difficult to get into. Cringe, at best.
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